When it comes to being an award-winning and internationally sought-after producer, there is no rule book that India’s Anju Purushot follows. Instead, the trick to her craft is keeping an open and fresh approach with every new project she takes on. She knows that with each new team she is a part of, there is a different way to tackle an issue, and a unique way to see outstanding results. It is this constant variety that Purushot loves about her career, and her passion is evident in every project she has been a part of.
“I welcome challenges and love to be thrown into complex things where I can have creative input to help produce the best piece of content for that brief. It’s about managing the different partners involved to orchestrate a beautiful piece of work, that everyone would be proud to have their name on,” she says.
Throughout her esteemed career, Purushot has shown vast versatility and talent. Not only has she worked on several award-winning movies, including Achchamundu! Achchamundu! and Kalpitham, but she has worked with some of the most recognized brands in the world, like McDonalds, Visa, Google, Pepsico, Coca-Cola, and many, many more on widely successful advertising campaigns and commercials.
One such campaign was the Snickers “Hunger Game” series, which combined storytelling and interactive gameplay to create innovative commercials on YouTube for the iconic chocolate bar. These videos for Snickers sought to engage audiences by turning the pre-roll into a game that viewers could play using the only input available – the Pause button. One video features an angry bus driver, and another with an angry tennis referee, the idea is that with a Snickers that hunger will go away. With a little luck and timing, the title characters could be transformed to their original selves.
The campaign sought to target the millennial market, made up of individuals who have grown up in the era of video games. As such, these individuals instinctively understand gamification and seize upon any opportunity to play. Using design and sound elements from classic 8-bit gaming, these videos primed the audience into game mode from the very beginning and convinced them to continue watching the video from the beginning to the end.
“Using YouTube seemed natural as that’s where Snickers’ audience lives but the use of the pre-roll, in particular, was met with some cynicism initially. But this game, though it seemed overly simplistic, became an addictive one for everyone who took part in it and turned into a huge success, winning over a new legion of Snickers fans,” says Purushot.
Purushot was working at Impact BBDO Dubai when she took on this project and knew she could lead her team to success. She was responsible for ensuring that the necessary creative drive was never lost, the game mechanics worked with 100 percent accuracy and the production was delivered on-time and within budget. She also played a key role during the post-production process, liaising with the company that shot the films and the company that was handling post-production in order to ensure that feedback from each company was taken into consideration by the other. On top of this, she had to monitor the gamified commercial frame-by-frame, a very arduous task, to ensure that all glitches and corrections were handled, spending several weeks hammering out these details and running online tests to ensure the necessary level of accuracy. Her strong presence of mind, aptitude for creative collaboration and ability to manage the complexity of the many stages of production played a big part in the success of these interactive commercials.
“Where many producers fall into the trap of being consummate people-pleasers, Anju always puts the integrity of the job at hand first above all else. While always a pleasure to work with, she is not one to shy away from ruffling a few feathers to ensure that success and timely execution of the jobs in her charge. Anju also has an innate ability to remain calm under any kind of pressure, serving as the proverbial rock that keeps all projects on the right track. She speaks with authority and experience on all aspects of the production process, guiding the project and adding value at every stage of the production process as she goes,” says Steve De Lange, Executive Creative Director who worked with Purushot on the Snickers Hunger Game campaign.
The videos premiered on YouTube in January 2017 and within the first week of their launch, they generated over 2 million total views. They also showed an unprecedented 92 per cent audience retention rate, which was 78 per cent higher than the industry standard. This means that the vast majority of viewers chose to watch the productions to the very end, a very difficult rate to achieve, and an achievement that translates to more brand awareness and customers for the Mars Wrigley company. Additionally, “Stop the Hunger” received a Bronze Lion at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity, a Silver Award at the Dubai Lynx Festival, and a Clio and a Merit Award at The One Show.
“This project was special as it’s something out of the box and something we all poured our energy into. We worked hand-in-hand with many other production partners, so pulling it off was not an easy feat. There were several test runs, frame by frame corrections that had to be meticulously sorted, which was all hard work but I am happy to have put in those hours to pull off something this fun and well-spoken of all over the world,” says Purushot.
Play the Snickers Hunger Game here, but beware, you’ll definitely want a Snickers of your own once you do.